Heading west on Venice’s Rose Avenue, I screech to a halt at the red ?light at Main. Idling there, I try to avert my eyes from the offensive visage on the other side of the intersection. Fat chance — the thing is just too big; too bold.
It’s too bad.
Jonathan Borofsky crafted his 30-foot “Ballerina Clown” out of fiberglass and evil, and installed it outside the Venice Renaissance Building in 1989 as an obvious “screw you” to the West Coast (Borofsky himself is a Massachusetts native and resident).
I’ve always figured the Ballerina Clown to be a deviant tranny, seeking citywide attention to compensate for a childhood fucked up by homophobic schoolmates and unaccepting hillbilly parents. But, after closer inspection (108 interminable seconds), I realize she’s but an attention-starved chorus girl of mediocre talent, boldly baring thick calves and perky tits while hiding behind a mask.
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The hinged right leg indicates a sad, stiff cancan component, a reminder that Borofsky’s eyesore was once kinetic. Was it arthritis that stiffened her right leg, or rust? Regardless, her tacky, tasteless stature — what with her poor turnout, her incongruous hobo clown mask and her exposed panties (slut!) — remains intact. She balances (barely) en pointe on a fiberglass apple box.
She wears gloves, red shoes and a top hat. She confuses me, hurts my eyes and spawns fantasies of guerrilla destruction. With bad feet and tight hips, she’s hardly a dancer worthy of such geographic prominence and exaggerated proportion, which raises the question: Who was she sleeping with?
Here’s hoping for that tidal wave.
Venice Renaissance Building, Main St. at Rose Ave., Venice.